Rei Kawakubo's work at Comme des Garcons, however abstract, almost always deals with gender politics. And this season was no different.
But she also seemed to be saying something else. With one of the smallest shows on the schedule (just 40 people front row), she brought intimacy back to the fashion show experience. Even the models' hairdos-- resembling gold treasure--conveyed preciousness.
The clothes were half-man, half-woman--an overcoat, fused with a more feminine double-breasted jacket, for example, and a brogue shoe with a bow on top.
Some of the looks even had a desexing effect--such as a partially opaque tulle shirt blurring out the shape of breasts, worn with lacy black tap pants and a coat tied to the shoulders with a grosgrain ribbon.
As strange as these hybrid garments may seem, they could have quite a transformative effect. Wearing one of the half-blazers, tied to the body with a grosgrain ribbon, over a dress, could look quite cool.
The collection built to a cacophony of color and print, with dresses and skirts sewn together from a patchwork of silk handkerchiefs and scarves.
Then, for the finale, a group of models came out together, dressed all in gold, swarming around the stage like honeybees. Perhaps it was a subtle joke about fashion's (and fashion week's) predisposition to buzz. Or not. With Kawakubo, one never knows.
--Booth Moore in Paris
Photos: Looks from the Comme des Garcons fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times.